5 Tips for Inviting Guest Bloggers to Write for Your Blog


Hosting guest writers on your blog is a great way to give yourself a break from blogging and give your readers another perspective, says freelance writer and blogger Susan Johnston.

But, guest bloggers don’t give you the freedom to take a total vacation from your blog…

“I thought I’d have a break when I solicited guest bloggers to cover my vacation last year,” says Johnston. “The reality is that guest bloggers do require involvement from the host blogger, but it’s a different kind of involvement from writing your own posts.”





Read on for Johnston’s tips for inviting guest bloggers to write for you – and check out the IT Girl’s Guide to Blogging with Moxie by Joelle Reeder and Katherine Scoleri for ideas on writing edgy and quirky blog posts.

5 Tips for Inviting Guest Bloggers

This is a guest post from blogger and freelance writer Susan Johnston.

Despite the involvement having guest bloggers takes, I still think it’s a worthwhile collaboration. It gives you a taste of what it’s like to be an editor and it’s a way to form friendships with other bloggers. Often, you get a nice spike in traffic from the guest blogger’s readers and followers.

Here’s how to make guest blogging work for your blog….

1. Make your expectations clear. When I posted a call for guest bloggers on my site earlier this year, I included a requested word count and the guideline that all guest posts be related to blogging, freelancing, and/or writing. That saved me from sorting through posts that were either too long or totally off topic. Sometimes guest bloggers email me a couple of ideas they’re tossing around and let me help them choose. I always like to get ideas rather than a “what should I write about?” email.

2. Set a deadline. Once you’ve agreed to a topic, you should also agree to a deadline. Initially, I was hesitant to set deadlines, because I wasn’t paying guest bloggers, and I didn’t want them to stress about it, especially at the expense of paying projects. But I’ve found that most people really do need deadlines to get stuff done, and this helps me to plan my posting schedule. I’m not that strict about it, but I do appreciate when people follow through. You would be surprised how many bloggers contact me, agree to a topic, and then I never hear from them again! (If you struggle to come up with ideas, read What Should I Blog About? Tips for Bloggers Who Have No Ideas).

3. Reserve the right to edit. Even though the guest blog post carries someone else’s name, it’s on your blog, so typos or incorrect word usage will reflect poorly on your blog’s brand. Most guest bloggers will be grateful if you correct a typo (after all, it’s their byline), but changing syntax or tone gets into a gray area. I usually err on the side of under-editing guest posts, because I don’t want to stomp out another writer’s voice, but I do try to work with the writer so the post is something we’re both proud of. Usually, I’ll email the blogger with proposed revisions and explain why I’d like to make the changes. So far, this system seems to work.



Sign up for my free weekly "She Blossoms" newsletter

One Blossom Tip a week. Short and sweet. You'll love it.

* indicates required



4. Give credit where credit is due. When readers are used to reading posts written by a certain person, they sometimes assume that a guest post was written by you. I try to prevent this by titling all guest posts as such and including the blogger’s name at the top and the bottom of the post (though Blogger still says it was posted by me because I formatted the post). I also ask guest bloggers for a bio line so that readers can visit their blog, check out their website, or follow them on Twitter. Whenever I’m promoting a guest blog on Twitter, I also include the guest blogger’s Twitter handle if they have one.

5. Send out the link. I usually tell guest bloggers when they should expect to see their post, then send out the link once it’s live (though I don’t always remember to do this if I’m on deadline or on vacation). This gives me a chance to thank them for the post, and often guest bloggers will forward the link to friends, post it on their own blog, or spread the word via Twitter. (For more info on Twitter for writers, read Twitter Benefits for Freelance Writers).

If you’re still unsure about hosting guest bloggers, another strategy is to post Q & As. This allows you to showcase other bloggers or notable people in your niche but gives you a bit more control than completely opening the floor to guest bloggers. Hmm… maybe next time I should blog about Q & As.

Susan Johnston is a Boston-based freelance writer and blogger who has covered business and lifestyle topics for The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, DailyCandy.com, Yahoo! HotJobs, and many other publications. Want to know more? check out The Urban Muse or follow her on Twitter.

Susan also contributed 5 Tips for Developing Your Writer’s Voice, here on Quips & Tips for Successful Writers.

Have you hosted guest bloggers on your blog — and do you have any tips or questions?

xo






Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

35 thoughts on “5 Tips for Inviting Guest Bloggers to Write for Your Blog

  • vinayak

    hi,
    these are good tips for inviting guest bloggers. i also have my site open for guest blogging.
    its a technology related site called technoworm, feel free to guest post.

  • Laurie

    Nathalie, I’m glad you found this article helpful! I hope you find good guest bloggers. I’m off to visit your blog… 🙂

  • Nathalie Gosdinski

    Thank you very much for such helpful post. I’m looking forward to have guest bloggers on my site. I was a bit nervous about sending out invitations and being rejected since I’m a beginner blogger but I think I should start by establishing friendships and take it from there. Thanks!

  • Laurie

    Hi Nel,

    I think it’s definitely worth it to give those blog networks a try. I don’t have experience with blogsynergy, but have had good luck with myblogguest.

    If you need guest bloggers, the best way is to try different ways to attract them until you find what works for you. And, pay attention to how other bloggers do it. Some have a page dedicated to their guidelines for guest bloggers, which can be an efficient, easy way to find bloggers….but only if you have enough traffic.

    Good luck with it – let me know what works for you!

    Laurie

  • Nel Liam

    Laurie,
    Do you recommend any guest blogging communities that i should invest my time in?
    Any experience that you have with myblogguest or blogsynergy?

  • Amarjeet

    Actually I love to host bloggers, but I do not know how to do it . How I can ask writers to come on my blog . My blog is new and I am getting very little traffic .Just 100-200 clicks . I will appreciate if some one can suggest me how can I get bloggers on my blog

  • Mark @ GuestBlogPoster.com

    Expectations are really important but even more than that is giving credit where credit is due. Guest blogging is a 2-way street and if you’re the only person getting any sort of benefit, nobody is going to want to blog for you, especially on a continual basis.

  • Deborah Anderson

    Susan,

    These are great tips. I especially like the one about making the expectations clear. That is so true and so helpful.

    Thanks,
    Deborah

  • John

    Great read indeed, and comments too;

    I particularly landed here because I’m looking for a guest writer for bizrika.com, in the line of Africa business news and analysis.

    If you are interested kindly get to me. You can get to the contacts page and drop us an email.

    Thank you!

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for taking the time to comment — I know that guest blogging is alive and well, and believe Susan’s tips are very valuable.

  • Kenneth Long

    Susan thanks for the advice. We are preparing to launch a guest post section that we are calling “Reader Contributions.” While we have accepted a handful of posts, we want to make sure we have a system for making sure we are getting the right types of articles.

    We also want to make sure that readers are very clear when a post is by a guest writer, since their opinions may not entirely match ours. That is OK, since we want to share multiple viewpoints.

  • Shasi

    Your information is very useful. I would like to try it out for my blog. Thanks.
    .-= Shasi´s last blog post ..Tips for your Online Business =-.

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I think the best way to determine if you should invite guest bloggers is to try it and see!

    Some guest writers are incredibly easy to work with, which makes up for the difficult ones 🙂
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes, Symptoms, and Tips for Writers and Bloggers =-.

  • christopher

    Thanks for the article.

    I’ve been considering bringing in some guest bloggers on a site of mine but have been on the fence over it.

    From what I have been reading it sounds like it can be a win-win situation.

  • Laurie PK

    Katie, thanks for your guest blogging tip. Very, very important information!
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Signs It’s Time to Hire a Webmaster for Your Blog =-.

  • Katie

    I have had guest bloggers on my site and one of the biggest tips I would have for people looking to guest blog is FOLLOW DIRECTIONS! I have had too many guest bloggers submit articles that were completely in a different direction than we had initally agreed upon. Guest blogging is great for exposure and links, so do exactly what the blog’s owner asks you to do…otherwise they won’t ask for you to blog for them again!

  • Laurie PK

    I never thought about asking guest bloggers to send their post in a certain format. Valerie, why do you have to format a post if it’s sent in Word? Do you use Blogger?

    You can copy and paste a Word document directly into WordPress, if you use a certain icon in the menu bar. I used to have all sorts of formatting problems until I discovered that icon.
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..8 Tips for Maintaining More Than One Blog =-.

  • Susan Johnston

    Vera, you’re so right! I accept posts in any format (I’m soft like that), but as a courtesy to the host blogger, I usually send an HTML and a regular version so they don’t have to format it themselves. I simply write my post in Blogger, then copy the HTML and the preview versions into an email so they can choose whichever is easiest. 🙂

  • Vera Marie Badertscher

    I love having guest bloggers, and admit I’m a little embarrassed when their posts draw higher traffic than mine!
    One technical thing you didn’t cover, is that I ask the guests to either submit the post in the body of an e-mail, or if attaching it, as notepad or plain text. If they attach a post in Word, it takes me too much time to format it.
    I’ve had two guests whose posts were too long for my format, so I broke them into two posts. Win-win.

  • Laurie PK

    This is a great idea, Kerry. Not only are you including your blog readers (which makes them happy!), you’re finding new things to blog about. I recently read that that’s what a blog is: a conversation.

    Thanks for your tip!

    Laurie
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Finding the Motivation to Do What You Love – Julia Cameron =-.

  • Kerry Dexter

    I’ve recently been doing a variation on the guest post thing. I gathered comments related to one idea I thought my readers would like to keep learning about from a number of different professionals, both through email and in person. I’m using their comments in separate posts, sometimes with a good bit of comment/introduction from me, sometimes not. Decided to do this as a regular feature on Saturdays as that’s a slow day for me in summer, and it’s starting to draw some increased traffic. Also, since every person I asked had a couple of things to say on the subject , I’m able to choose what to use of their ideas.
    .-= Kerry Dexter´s last blog post ..photographing music, continued =-.

  • Laurie PK

    I like the idea of the blog host setting the rules — thanks for that, Susan. I heard another blogger refer to his blog as his living room: he gets to dictate who comes over and what the “right” way to behave is.

    I think we do need to own our blogs, and steer them in the direction we choose.
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Why Gossip is Good for You – Barbara Walters =-.

  • Susan Johnston

    One more thing… my little brother wanted to guest blog for me, and I told him he’d have to come up with an idea that fits my blog’s themes. (He’d wanted to write a confessional-style post about job hunting as a college senior.) I guess I’m not a complete softy if I don’t publish my own family members!

  • Susan Johnston

    Laurie, that’s why I always ask to talk through the post via email before they write it. If you say “I only do tips-based posts,” then you’re rejecting the idea, not the blogger. And there’s no reason for you to feel guilty about that, because the host always sets the house rules (in real life and in the blogosphere).
    .-= Susan Johnston´s last blog post ..What Community Theater Taught Me About Freelance Writing =-.

  • Laurie PK

    Ana, your last blog post made me do a double take — I wrote 8 Habits of Highly Effective Writers, here on Quips & Tips for Successful Writers! One of my favorite posts 🙂

    Regarding guest bloggers — I hear you, Susan! It is wonderful to give newbies an outlet, and to open your “home” up to different writers. I’m open to pretty much any topic, but if it’s stuff that we’ve heard a million times before (eg, “show, don’t tell”) and it’s not in a tips-based format, then it’s hard for me to post it with enthusiasm…much less tweet or facebook or promote it in various ways.

    I like Scott’s idea of offer a guest blogger a book as payment; it’s a win-win situation!

    Laurie
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Getting What You Want Out of Life – Angelina Jolie =-.

  • Ana V. Rios

    Great tips on guest blogging, thank you! I want to do a few of these a year on my blog because I think it would give my reader’s a different perspective on someone else’s writing.
    .-= Ana V. Rios´s last blog post ..The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Writers =-.

  • Scott Nesbitt

    Great post, with some very good advice.

    When I recently put out a call for guest posters for one of the blogs that I maintain, I approached specific people who write in that niche directly. And about 85% of them said yes.

    Something that helps is making it worthwhile for guest bloggers to contribute. I offered my guests either a small payment or a book. Not all of them took me up on that offer, though.
    .-= Scott Nesbitt´s last blog post ..Use guest posts to add some new colour to your blog =-.

  • Susan Johnston

    Laurie,

    I’m not consistent in how I promote guest posts, and I feel bad about that sometimes! As for telling someone their guest post is not up to snuff, I guess I’m a softy because I usually publish the post anyway or work with the blogger to try to get it up to snuff. I don’t want the quality of my own blog to suffer, but I do think it’s valuable for less established writers to have an outlet. So it would have be riddled with grammatical errors and awful writing for me to completely reject a guest post.

    However, I’ve had a lot of guest bloggers disappear because I ask them to a have well-defined, well thought out topic before I will agree to look at a guest post. Some of them probably get scared off at that stage and it’s probably for the best. Maybe your policy should be “email me before you write the post so I can approve your topic” and if you can tell from the beginning that this person isn’t going to write a strong post, you could just reject their topic, which is less personal than rejecting their post and saves them from all that extra work.

    Susan
    .-= Susan Johnston´s last blog post ..What Community Theater Taught Me About Freelance Writing =-.

  • Laurie PK

    I was writing my comment at the same time as Devon, so didn’t respond in my last comment — and I want to!

    I’ve been one of those host bloggers who didn’t respond to a guest’s post submission. It was over at Quips & Tips for Achieving Your Goals, and I think I did it twice. The posts were just so….not right for my blog, and I didn’t know what to say! I could tell the writers had put time and thought into them, but I just couldn’t post them. So I cowardly just ignored the email, and kept telling myself I’d figure out a way to respond later….and then months went by….one writer did contact me to ask what was going on, and I never heard from the other again.

    If you’ve had guest bloggers who don’t write up to your “standards” — how do you tell them you’d rather not post their article?

    Laurie
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Getting What You Want Out of Life – Angelina Jolie =-.

  • Laurie PK

    I think a guest post might be less popular than the actual blogger’s post because readers like to read that particular blogger. For example, if I’m a fan of Gretchen Rubin over at The Happiness Project and I learn that Madame X is writing a guest post, then I may not bother to read — because I like Gretchen, not Madame X!

    But — similar to what Susan said — if you have a Big Name blogger writing a guest post, then you’ll probably get more traffic. You may also get his/her readers over for a visit.

    It just occurred to me: when I write guest posts, I don’t publicize them here, on Quips & Tips for Successful Writers. My format doesn’t lend itself to the quick and easy “Go read my guest post over at the Urban Muse” post — all my posts are quips and tips based.

    But, I could insert a sentence at the end of one of my posts: to read more about X, visit the Urban Muse for my article called “…”.”

    Anyway, thanks for your guest post, Susan! I look forward to writing for your blog next week, and I will find a way to mention it here 🙂

    Laurie
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post ..Getting What You Want Out of Life – Angelina Jolie =-.

  • Devon Ellington

    i love to host bloggers and I love to guest on other blogs. I always cyber-meet new people, and often find intesting blogs with whom to exchange links.

    My pet peeve when I’m a guest is when I spend time on a post, send it in as agreed, and never hear from the host. If you’re not going to use it, for whatever reason, fine, that’s up to you, but TELL ME. Don’t just ignore the post and ignore the follow-up messages. It’s rude.

    I also like to know when the post is up. “I told people on Twitter” doesn’t help me — I’m not on Twitter 24/7 and I need a DiRECT message either via email or on Twitter to know what’s going on. “Too busy” in this case usually means unprofessional and/or disorganized.

    As a host, it’s annoying when someone agrees to a deadline and then either flakes or only gives me partial info. If you don’t give me a jpg of your cover and the blurb for your book as asked,I can’t post it. I can’t just go on someone else’s website and pull off content without permission because you only half-read our agreement. If I’ve asked for it three times and you don’t respond, then don’t send me a nasty email complaining that I didn’t post it. Give me the information we agreed upon by deadline, and it will all be there.

    I’ve met a lot of great people, and the not-great ones I simply don’t deal with again.
    .-= Devon Ellington´s last blog post ..Friday, July 10, 2009 =-.

  • Susan Johnston

    George,
    That’s interesting. I guess it depends on who the guest blogger is. If it’s someone who has a huge following on their blog and Twitter, then I’ve often found that I get a nice increase in traffic. But writers who are justing starting out often don’t have this impact. Still, I think it’s worthwhile to give those writers an outlet because so many veterans helped me when I was in that position, and they offer a perspective that is a little different from mine.
    Susan
    .-= Susan Johnston´s last blog post ..Open Thread: Send Me Your Questions! =-.

  • Tumblemoose

    Susan,

    I love guest posts! (they taste just like chicken!)Ok, I’m kidding about the chicken thing, but guest posting and having guest posters is an excellent community building situation.

    I like these tips and subscribe to most of them in terms of accepting and dealing with a guest post. Clear expectations and time frames are the best insurance for a smooth ride.

    I’ve not been burned yet, but I have noticed that whenever I have a guest post, traffic takes a dive and so do the comments. I still promote the post as usual with Twitter and Stumble and such but still, folks tend to stay away. The guest posts are on topic with the niche and written well… It truly is a mystery to me.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips!

    George
    .-= Tumblemoose´s last blog post ..Writing basics for the first time novelist, part one =-.